Depression is not…
… a personal weakness or a personal failure It is not your personality or your identity. It is an illness that pervades how you feel emotionally, how you behave, and your sense of physical well being.
The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) estimates as many as 1 in 10 Americans report being depressed. It is also estimated that only half that number ever seek and receive treatment. That’s a lot of suffering.
One of the painful aspects of depression is that you feel isolated and alone, afraid and ashamed. When you look at the list of symptoms below, you can imagine how hard it is for a person who is feeling physically tired and overwhelmed, and emotionally worthless, to seek help- and perhaps feel like they deserve it.
When education about depression is available, there is often a sense of relief. My intention is to provide information and hope. A place to begin to find your way. Effective treatment and support are available.
Everyone gets depressed, right?
Well, no, not really.
Depression is a term that is applied liberally and casually to just about any version of human sadness. Within that big pile of casual use is a very real illness. It is called clinical depression or neurobiological depression. It is not a brief case of the blues or simple, genuine sadness.
Clinical depression is a level of depression that significantly has an impact on one’s life.
One of the key considerations of depression: Does it disrupt my life?
Does depression interfere with my work, relationships, and living a meaningful life. If the answer is yes it is likely that depression support and treatment will be helpful.
There are differences in severity, frequency and duration in the types of depression. There are also overlapping symptoms in this range of conditions.
Here are some of the symptoms to consider.
- Sleep disturbances: too much, too little, disrupted
- Weight and appetite changes: weight loss or weight gain
- Fatigue, low energy: most activity feels effortful
- General malaise, not feeling well and no medical cause
- It is as if the emotional/life force volume has been turned down
- Sadness, emptiness
- Loss of interest sex, people, activities and other areas that used to be pleasurable
- Feelings of hopelessness and worthlessness
- Feeling slowed down
- Irritability and overwhelm: decreased tolerance, easily overstimulated
- Difficulties with memory and concentration
How do you work with people Kathy?
Many of the folks that come to see me, describe a long list of ways they have tried to work with depression: exercise, prayer and meditation, acupuncture, vitamins and supplements to name a few. They have often received advice from others to pull themselves out of it, try harder, or think positively. These suggestions tend to make things worse by creating a greater sense of isolation and self loathing.
When you come to see me for a consultation, my first consideration is respectful listening. As noted above, the problem isn’t a lack of ideas about remedies. The people I meet with are experts about what they experience. Making sense of the experience and knowing how to work with it is the issue at hand. A collaborative relationship is developed with each person, so that we can explore how to begin to unravel the depression and move toward stabilization. My intention is for you to be heard completely enough so that you have a feeling of “Kathy gets me.”
Collaborative coaching regarding lifestyle is integrated into our work, usually starting with the most basic aspects: sleeping and eating. That’s often where we start to build a foundation.
One of the ways depression manifests is negative thought patterns. We look at these patterns together so that we can begin to separate the negative thinking of depression from who you are.
Feeling isolated is also a part of depression. Cultivating meaning, contact and community is an important part of the treatment.
What if I have been to therapy before and it didn’t work?
There are many kinds of wonderful therapies out there. Many of them are based on insight, i.e., understanding oneself more deeply. That may or may not be helpful with depression. I believe that to effectively work with depression it requires helping you to live your life more functionally and fully.
I conduct my practice this way: if we determine for any reason that our work together isn’t beneficial, I make a commitment to offer referrals based on you telling me what you need.
I am afraid that you will expect too much of me. I already feel like a failure.
I hear you. I am aware that this is one of the aspects of depression that makes you feel so alone.
My approach to depression treatment is to work step by step with you. Beside you. Right where you are. On any given day. We will explore and experiment together to find what works for you. If something does not work, it is not a failure, it is an indicator for us to investigate further.
I am embarrassed that I need this kind of depression treatment. It seems like I should be able to do this on my own.
Again, I hear you. Folks suffering from depression are affected on so many levels. It is an illness that affects how you perceive and experience your world. Truly, your brain is not working optimally. You might feel irritable, overwhelmed, forgetful, unmotivated, exhausted. Most people call me when doing it on their own hasn’t produced the desired results.
Good knowledgeable help can be transformative. Connecting and being understood is usually a huge first step. Sometimes the first step is the hardest. The concern about embarrassment is most often replaced with a profound sense of relief of being seen and understood.
Can you tell me about the kinds of people you work with Kathy?
It’s interesting. I was going to describe a typical client with depression. There isn’t necessarily a typical client. I work with adolescents in their teens to twenties and I work with elders. Many of the folks I work with have an additional medical issue like ADD, traumatic brain injury, chronic pain or illness.
I think what is typical is the effort to individualize treatment for each person. I see folks who do not wish to use medications. I see folks who feel like medication has changed their lives dramatically. Sometimes we focus on work performance. Sometimes I see couples to help them navigate and enhance relationship. What is the immediate need, where does the client have energy to focus?
If you check out the About page you will see that I have been on a long path toward doing this work well, creatively and in a very down to earth way.
What are the next steps?
You can get the free report shown below by signing up for my newsletter. Contact me to chat on the phone or make an appointment at 303-473-4447.